In addition to public reserved tours, field trip opportunities are offered at the Center for elementary and secondary students, tailored to incorporate Mississippi curriculum standards. An overnight Dozing With Dolphins program is offered for student and scouting groups, including a behind-the-scenes tour opportunity, a film screening, and animal training presentations. An Ocean Expo Summer Camp is held annually for students ages 5-17, highlighting different marine science topics weekly and offering field trip opportunities to South Mississippi barrier islands and aboard shrimp and pontoon boats. For older students, a Dolphin Camp offers up-close opportunities with the Center’s dolphins, and an Angler Fishing camp for middle grades teaches basic fishing and net casting techniques. Mini-camp experiences are available for field trip groups, offering encounters with sea birds and marine mammals and highlighting topics such as industrial fishing, pollution, and climate change. Dormitory accommodations for all overnight programs are offered at the nearby Seashore United Methodist Assembly in Biloxi.
A Job Shadow training program for students ages 12 and older provides opportunities for observation of marine biologist, marine veterinarian, and animal trainer duties during three-hour weekly sessions. The Institute’s staff and educators are also available for appearances at community events upon request, presenting programs on marine mammal conservation and healthy lifestyles that protect biodiversity. Three-hour scenic excursion cruises are also presented in conjunction with the Center, offering pontoon boat cruises and birdwatching opportunities on the Mississippi Sound and Tchoutacabouffa River from April through October. A future Evening at IMMS program will bring a regular schedule of lectures and workshop programming to the Center, offering educational opportunities for public attendees. The Center for Marine Education may also be rented for private special events, including use of all museum exhibits and auditorium audiovisual equipment for meetings and presentations.
As a full marine mammal research and conservation facility, the Institute has sponsored a number of research initiatives centered on the Mississippi Gulf Coast’s native wild Atlantic bottlenose dolphin population, including assessments of population dynamics and medical and behavioral studies. Current ongoing research projects include photo-identification studies of seasonal movements and transect surveys of population abundance. A number of marine turtle research and conservation programs have been facilitated as part of the Institute’s partnership with the Sea Turtle Stranding and Salvage Network. Future Institute studies will address dolphin and turtle populations’ responses to stressors such as oil spills, hurricanes, and human interactions.
10801 Dolphin Ln, Gulfport, MS 39503, Phone: 228-896-9182
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